14.09.2021 | By admin

Project: Conversion of the National Swimming Center in Beijing into curling venue for 2022 Winter Olympics
Company: China Construction First Group Co., Ltd.
Location: Beijing, China
Schedule: Started December 2018
MagiCAD software: Gsite

Basic Information

Originally built for the 2008 Summer Olympics, the National Swimming Center (commonly referred to as the Water Cube) was converted to serve as the curling venue for the 2022 Winter Olympics and Winter Paralympic Games. Located in the Olympic Park in Chaoyang District, Beijing, the venue’s renovation was started in December 2018 by China Construction First Group Co., Ltd.

The transformation of the existing building into a dual-purpose venue required an independent ice-making system, dehumidification system, competition lighting system, power distribution and other systems to meet the needs of the Winter Olympics curling events. The innovative conversion of the existing venue into a dual-use facility for water and ice sports is the first of its kind in the industry.

Project highlights

  • Curling venues for the 2022 Winter Olympics
  • The largest curling venue in the history of the Winter Olympics
  • The only dual-use Olympic venue in the world that allows for free conversion between water sports and ice sports
  • The only Winter Olympic venue where the curling competition is held on temporary ice
  • Transformation project covered 70 construction areas and about 50,000m2 in total
Double Olympic Venue ‘Ice and Water’ Venue
Main competition area for water and ice sports
The building ‘Water Cube’/ ‘Ice Cube'
Water Cube / Ice Cube

About China Construction First Group

Headquartered in Beijing, China Construction First Group was established in 1953 as the first “national team” for construction in China. Its development process closely reflects the development of China’s construction industry. Listed at number 18 in Fortune Global 500, it is currently the largest investment and construction group worldwide and a key part of China State Construction.

China Construction First Group operates in both domestic and foreign markets and is dedicated to the development of the housing construction, infrastructure, environmental improvement, investment and operation sectors. China Construction First Group have extended their business throughout China and to more than 20 countries in Europe, the United States, Africa and Asia, while providing customers with high-quality products and value-added services throughout the entire construction life cycle.

Key Challenges in the Project

Converting between water and ice sports

The support system for the conversion between water and ice sports required an unusual level of precision. The size of the concrete slab, the embedded parts, the allowed deviation of provisions and the surface height difference were all measured in millimeters. Simultaneously, the supporting structure and ice-making equipment needed to be suitable for repeated assembly and disassembly.

Converting between two climates

Due to the limitations of the main stadium area, it is not possible to control temperature and humidity for the entire venue with a single control. Instead, the venue has three different zones and three separate layers of control for adjusting the temperature and humidity of the competition hall.

Two sets of air supply methods were implemented in order to minimize the wind speed on the ice surface and to provide a uniform air supply. An air supply directly above the ice rink was also needed to meet the requirements of the World Curling Federation. The project was the first conversion of a sporting arena into a space that can alternate between high temperature and humidity and low temperature and humidity depending on the sport and the team had no comparable global examples to study beforehand.

Maintaining other areas of the venue open during renovation

The building owner required that parts of the main venue, such as the office spaces, remain open to normal use during the renovation with fully operational electrical and HVAC systems. This meant that the renovation area needed to be carefully isolated, whereas in a normal renovation project there would have been more freedom to remove existing systems and facilities. Maintaining normal operation of the electrical and HVAC systems for selected parts of the building while upgrading the electrical system within the renovation area was a major challenge for system engineers and the entire construction organization.

Goals for Gsite and BIM implementation

The project team established specific goals that they wanted to achieve through the implementation of Gsite software and BIM technology.

  • Enable on-site progress tracking, quality and safety control, material records, and hazard inspections, as well as information sharing for the purposes of unified management and data analysis. Employ cloud technology and BIM model visualization to enable online management of tasks, improve site management and reduce communication costs.
  • Make use of BIM technology to address project difficulties, for example by refining system designs, rechecking calculations and running debugging simulations.
  • Compare the original and reconstructed models of the arena with the help of BIM model change management in order to manage changed parts, view the quantity of engineering modifications and have better control over materials and their scheduling.
  • Cultivate BIM competencies within the company through extensive BIM implementation.

Gsite implementation


A Gsite implementation project group within the company specified the responsibilities of each Gsite user and their work process with the software. Specific Gsite applications and other technology to be used were also defined.


Integration of BIM model

By integrating the BIM model into Gsite, the project team was able to identify and resolve in advance issues resulting from unreasonable design and unclear logic that could have easily led to later changes and rework.

The Gsite team and the designers coordinated the design results, adjusted the BIM model accordingly, and issued a construction design drawing based on the final version of the BIM model. This finalized construction design drawing was then reviewed and approved as the design blueprint for on-site construction.

Digital simulation of construction project

A simulation of the entire project was carried out before actual construction. The construction simulation included resource information, such as personnel, materials, and machines. The organizing and scheduling of construction work, the delivery and supply of materials, and the distribution of funds were all communicated and negotiated in advance. During the construction simulation stage, the construction plan was analyzed according to resource and time requirements to ensure that it was feasible.

Management of construction progress

The plan management function in Gsite allowed the team to link the overall, monthly and weekly plans. On-site construction workers received construction tasks for each stage and could provide feedback and on-site progress information through a mobile application. The data provided by the workers was collected to a project board, which allowed management to view on-site progress and material usage in real time and supported their decision-making.

Quality and safety management

Quality and safety management allowed for automatic notification of relevant team leaders when serious or critical issues were found on-site. The recorded quality and safety issues were also automatically associated with corresponding specifications and correction requirements. The digital issue reporting and management helped eliminate dangers and completed the closed-loop management.

Using Gsite for project meetings

By linking the mobile applications and the Gsite web platform, the team could extract weekly summaries of progress, quality and safety information, allowing them to hold regular project meetings efficiently without complex preparations.

Innovative uses of BIM

Ice/water conversion

Three key elements needed to be resolved to enable conversion between ice and water sports: support structure, climate conversion, and ice-making system. A range of quick problem solving methods were implemented and different BIM tools and technology combinations were implemented to solve issues with speed, accuracy, temperature, humidity and cleanness.

Maintaining open business areas during transformation

Different areas of the venue had different operational requirements during the project. In order to ensure the operation of the business areas during the renovation, it was necessary to use BIM technology to develop a venue reconstruction strategy.

Smart operation and maintenance

Combining the BIM model with the operation and maintenance platform of the venue allowed for real-time monitoring of indoor air quality, energy consumption, equipment operation and work order processing.

The effects of Gsite and BIM

Potential problem points were identified and solution alternatives were analysed already at an early stage of the project. After this initial work, the project was considerably easier to realize. The problems of rapid conversion between climates, continuous use of the business facilities and model management were resolved.

Overall, the use of BIM technology achieved impressive results in the project. The benefits of BIM were evident in improved project management, a shortened the construction period, reduced costs, and the high quality of project outcomes. The Gsite platform provided integrated control of the entire project, enabled closed-loop task management, ensured engineering quality, safety, and green construction, as well as greatly improved work efficiency.